Lewis Hamilton headed up a one-two finish for Mercedes in opening practice for the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on Friday, beating Formula 1 teammate Valtteri Bottas by four-tenths of a second.

F1 championship leader Hamilton arrived at Suzuka looking to continue his impressive run of recent form that has seen him win five of the last six races, putting him within touching distance of a fifth world title in 2018.

COTA #2 - Tremendous Turn 1

Hamilton was quick to stamp his authority on proceedings in Japan by leading the way in first practice for Mercedes, recording a fastest lap time of 1m28.691s on the Soft compound tyre.

The lap was enough to give Hamilton P1 by four-tenths of a second from teammate Bottas, who recorded his best time on the slower Medium compound tyre.

Hamilton was forced to take evasive action early in the session after coming across a slow-moving Pierre Gasly on the racing line heading into the final chicane, forcing him to duke to the side at the last moment in order to avoid a collision.

The Briton went straight on at the chicane as a result of his move before raising his hand in complaint to Gasly, with the incident set to be investigated by the stewards after the session.

Daniel Ricciardo finished as the best of the rest for Red Bull, taking P3 ahead of the Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel. Vettel lapped almost a second slower than title rival Hamilton, but had his quickest lap on Supersofts compromised by traffic at the final chicane.

Max Verstappen followed the Ferraris in sixth place for Red Bull, half a second back from teammate Ricciardo, while Esteban Ocon managed to lead the midfield runners in seventh for Force India.

Romain Grosjean took eighth place for Haas ahead of Sauber drivers Charles Leclerc and Marcus Ericsson, with Gasly following in 11th for Toro Rosso.

The session went by without any major incident, with the stand-out moment coming when Fernando Alonso went off at speed after putting a wheel on the grass at entry to Degner 1. Alonso managed to keep his car going and got his car out of the gravel, eventually finishing the session 18th-fastest.

Lando Norris continued his development ahead of his move up into a McLaren race seat for 2019 by taking over from Stoffel Vandoorne for FP1. The Briton finished at the bottom of the timesheets, but got 30 laps under his belt behind the wheel of the McLaren MCL33 car.